Firearm sales have surged in the United States in recent years, hitting a multi-decade high of 21 million in 2020, before falling slightly to 19 million the following year, according to SafeHome.org estimates. For context, the previous record was set in 2016, when Americans bought an estimated 16 million guns. As gun sales hit historic highs, the share of households with one or more firearms, based on a Gallup poll, spiked from 37% to 45% from 2019 to 2022.
The trend, which brought in record shattering revenue for many of America’s largest gunmakers, was fueled by a combination of factors, including heightened anxiety and a deterioration of trust during the pandemic, according to one study by the gun industry. And based on the most popular guns sold last year, at least at one outlet, many were models specifically designed for home defense and personal protection.
Using a report from Gungenius, which uses data from Gunbroker.com, an online firearm sales marketplace, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 22 most popular guns in America. Firearm models are ranked by 2022 sales reported by the online platform, though exact sales numbers were not provided.
Handguns – a category that includes both pistols and revolvers – are by far the most popular type of firearm in the U.S. Licensed gun makers in the U.S. produced over 21.7 million handguns between 2016 and 2020, nearly double the 11.1 million rifles produced over the previous five-year period, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Tobacco data. Not surprisingly, over half of the best-selling firearms in the U.S. in 2022 were handguns.
Handguns are popular not only as home defense weapons, but are also well suited to personal protection and self-defense. Several of the pistols on this list are marketed explicitly as concealed carry weapons. (Here is a look at America’s top pistol companies.)
Shotguns are another firearm category often purchased for home defense. Three of the firearm models on this list are shotguns, including the Mossberg 590, a model marketed exclusively as a tactical firearm. The two other shotguns on this list, the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870, are perennial favorites among American gun owners, each selling over 10 million units since their introduction over half a century ago. (Here is a look at America’s top shotgun companies.)
Click here to see guns with the most online sales in 2022.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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